The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) has deployed more than 200,000 personnel nationwide to check miscreants intending to hijack fuel subsidy removal protests to foment trouble.
Ade Abolurin, the Commandant General of the NSCDC, gave the figure on Friday in Abuja at a news briefing, saying the corps was ready to respond to any crisis.
Mr. Abolurin said there were 160,000 volunteers and 43,000 regular officers across the country who were ready to protect both protesters and government property from people whose intent was to cause trouble.
He said the corps was being proactive and was “ready to respond to any emergency anywhere and anytime”.
The commandant general explained that the NSCDC was aware of plans by people to take advantage of the current fuel subsidy removal protests to kill innocent people and destroy government installations.
“Although people are free to express their fundamental human rights such as the right to protest, but such a right has to be exercised peacefully, rationally and with some decorum.”
The defense corps boss said the corps had resolved to keep the peace during protests by “sensitising, informing the public and correcting the wrong perceptions Nigerians have about government policies”.
He gave assurance that the presence of the men and officers of the corps did not mean war on the people as their mandate was to ensure that lives and property were protected.
The NSCDC boss called on Nigerians to support government as its decisions were in the overall interest of the country and the citizenry.
Also briefing journalists on the meeting of the top officers of the corps held at the NSCDC headquarters on Friday, the Deputy Commandant General, Operations, Evans Ewurum, said it was to alert officers to their responsibilities at this trying period.
Mr. Ewurum said all the officers had been placed on ‘red alert’ for the task ahead as people who had no business with the protests might hijack the situation to cause trouble.
“We have seen people recently who are killing people everywhere without justification; such people might take advantage of the present situation to unleash terror on innocent citizens.”
He said the corps was, therefore, taking these proactive measures to protect lives and property.
The news briefing featured displays by rescue officers, security and sniffer dogs ready to respond to emergencies and fish out criminals.